The Pentagon said Thursday that the Biden administration would not commit to a full drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan by May because the Taliban have not honored the commitments they made in their agreement with the United States signed in Doha last year in February.
The agreement calls for the Taliban to reduce violence and cut ties with terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda, among other demands.
If the conditions of the deal were met, US forces would leave Afghanistan by May 2021. The US force level in Afghanistan was reduced to 2,500 troops just days before former US President Donald Trump left office.
“The Taliban have not met their commitments,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in his first press conference on Thursday. “Without them meeting their commitments to renounce terrorism and to stop the violent attacks on the Afghan national security forces, and by dint of that the Afghan people, it’s very hard to see a specific way forward for the negotiated settlement.”
Kirby said that the US remains committed to working toward that negotiated settlement between the Taliban and the Afghan governments.
“What I’m saying is that any decision of force levels in Afghanistan is going to be driven by our security requirements, there are security commitments there, and driven by conditions,” Kirby added.
On whether going to zero troops is still the goal, Kirby said, “It is under discussion with our partners and allies to make the best decisions going forward on force presence in Afghanistan.”
Following the press briefing, Kirby said in a tweet that the US supports the Afghan peace process and that “no decision has been made on future force posture.”
The remarks come as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told President Ashraf Ghani earlier Thursday that there was “robust diplomatic support for the peace process focused on helping the parties to the conflict achieve a durable and just political settlement and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire that benefits all Afghans.”
Source: TOLO NEWS